Newly Adopted Texas Massage Therapy Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation amended several massage therapy rules to the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) effective February 1, 2020.

The rule amendments implement House Bill 1865 (2019), and the updated rules have been published on the TDLR website. The new rules affect massage therapy schools, and ABMP has summarized the changes for you below.

Approved Continuing Education Courses and Providers 117.31

The amended rules have updated the list of continuing education providers and now include courses offered by associations and approved massage therapy schools. This is to provide clarity to licensees as to which courses and providers are acceptable.

Massage School License—General Requirements and Application 117.50

Those applying for a school license no longer need to submit a detailed floor plan or inventory; however, there are many new requirements as part of the application process:

  • Financial statements must be reviewed by a public accountant no more than 180 days prior to the application date.
  • Owners must comply with all health and safety standards.
  • The name and contact information for the school's designated contact person must be included in the application.
  • Schools are to account for each student's hours.
  • Applicants must submit a copy of fingerprints to the department or to the Department of Public Safety of all individuals who hold stock, fair market value, controlling interest, shares, profits, or proceeds from the school, or who serve as a board director, elected officer, or general manager.

Massage School Locations 117.51

Schools that change location or that undergo a change in ownership must follow the new application process detailed above.

Change of Massage School Ownership 117.52

The new rules outline more clearly what actions define a change in ownership. A change of ownership occurs when:

  • A licensee of a sole proprietorship no longer owns the massage school;
  • A partnership dissolves;
  • A corporation or an LLC sells the school to another company;
  • An owner resigns/a new owner is assigned; or
  • An owner is legally incompetent or dies.

Massage School Equipment and Facility Requirements 117.53

If a massage school is using a time clock to log student hours, the specific date of each school day must be entered. The new rules now require massage establishments to display to the public an informative sign deemed acceptable by the department addressing the issue of human trafficking. It is our assumption that TDLR will create an approved sign; however, this is not on their website as of this date.

Massage School Inspections 117.55

Massage school owners and designated contact person(s) must be available during school inspections. School owners will receive an inspection report in writing and will be given 10 days to correct any inspection violations. Owners will have 30 days to provide verification to the department of violation corrections.

During an inspection, student records must be made available to the department for the period of a student's enrollment and up to 36 months after a student's program completion, withdrawal, or termination. Student files must contain daily records of attendance, time clock records (if applicable), and any other relevant student documentation pertaining to training hours.

Massage School Curriculum Outline and Internship 117.59

The rules have been revised to remove the hours cap and approval process for courses and internships. The new code merely provides that each school shall follow the curriculum outline prescribed by TDLR for a minimum of 500 hours training. In addition, there is no longer a cap on internship length, nor the number of internships a student may complete.

Massage School Enrollment Procedures 117.62

Under the old rules, an applicant convicted of a criminal offense was ineligible for licensure until the fifth anniversary of the violation. This provision has been removed in the new rules.

Massage schools must create and maintain a student database that includes each student's photograph and student permit. Every student must be issued a student permit, or they will not accrue training hours. A student permit is not valid without a photograph.

Massage School Transcripts and Records 117.64

Massage schools using a time clock to track student hours and daily attendance must post a sign near the time clock that states the following:

"Each student must personally clock in or out on their own;

No credit shall be given for any times written in, except in a 
documented case of time clock failure or any other situation 
which is documented by a licensed instructor;

If a student is in or out of the massage school for lunch, the 
student must clock out; 

Students leaving the massage school for any reason, including 
smoking breaks, must clock out, except when an instructional 
area, on a campus, is located outside the main school building 
and students are under the supervision of a licensed instructor."

Massage School Student Progress Requirements 117.67

Substantial amendments address student progress requirements. Massage schools must submit to the department at least one time per month an electronic record of each student's accrued clock hours. Massage schools must submit to the department notice of a student's withdrawal or termination within 10 calendar days upon the student's withdrawal or termination. A school must terminate a student if they are not in attendance for 30 days, except for a legitimate, documented leave of absence. Schools must also notify the department when a student completes all required training hours and is eligible to challenge the appropriate exam.

Student Permit—General Requirements 117.25

The new rules outline the student permit application process. Students are required to submit to the department a completed application form and pay all applicable fees.

Fees 117.100

The rules adopted a student permit fee of $25.

If you have questions or concerns, email us at